A missing Israeli woman’s body was found by police last week after her Palestinian boyfriend confessed to brutally murdering her -- as part of a bizarre plot to free Palestinian prisoners.
Muhammad Harouf told police he strangled his pregnant girlfriend, 29-year-old Michal Halimi, and bashed her head with rocks in an effort to “release” the prisoners, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Police launched an investigation to find Halimi after she was reported missing in May.
Halimi, who was married to another man in Israel, had left her home in the West Bank settlement of Adam to move in with her boyfriend, of Nablus, a city 30 miles north of Jerusalem.
Police said Halimi and Harouf apparently had planned to get engaged, the Post added.
Harouf’s initial account of events during interrogations led police to investigate the couple’s relationship further, including questioning a number of witnesses who knew the two.
The Palestinian eventually confessed to killing his girlfriend, and reportedly “reconstructed the murder for police.”
Halimi’s body was found July 24. Newsweek reported she was eight months pregnant.
“According to his version, he met the deceased in the Holon area, choked her, threw stones at her head, covered her body, and left the scene in her car in order to ‘release Palestinian prisoners,’” police said about Harouf's actions.
At his court hearing, Harouf reportedly kicked a guard and shouted, “I’ll kill all the Jews,” according to Ynetnews.com.
Halimi’s husband told Ynet that his wife was five months pregnant when she disappeared and that their “relationship was very good, and we were waiting for the child. This is entirely a nationalistic issue and not a romance.”
The Post reported Harouf was arraigned on first-degree murder charges.